Painting with the camera – Cheung Wai Lok

Cheung Wai Lok - Constructed Tree

Cheung Wai Lok – Constructed Tree

What your creation is about?

My creation uses photography as the main medium. It concerns the people and surroundings of Hong Kong and brings forward thoughts about its possibilities and nature.


How is your creation process like?

I put my emphasis on observation – I mark down my imagination and developed thoughts from things I saw on streets or texts I read that stimulated me. Then I think about how to use photography to express what I want to convey.

I choose to use the uniqueness of this medium – like monochrome, colour temperature, usage of darkroom and illusion etc to enrich my works.


Why do you use ‘Life Drawing’ as the theme of your exhibition? Isn’t it a painting technique rather than a photography technique?

The exhibition ‘Life Drawing’ is about urban planning and development. All works were produced in the past three to four years. They are about some very special (and even ridiculous) space. The process of creation is a bit similar to life drawing. I observe and discover what I want to catch and then go back to where I capture it with my camera.

On the other hand, I realised that my works were reflecting my emotions and status of living, which has the meaning of writing my life.


Cheung Wai Lok - Tree Shadow at the Gridline

Cheung Wai Lok – Tree Shadow at the Gridline

How does art affect your life?

Rather than saying ‘affecting my life,’ I think living emotions are reflected in my works without any intention. I have a set of earlier work ‘張的照片’ in which I discuss photography, myself and contemporary electronic medium. I was inspired by the popularisation of mobile phone photo-shooting and social media.

There was also a time when I suffered from claustrophobia for a while, that is why I am very sensitive to spaces and started to shoot spaces in the city. In the series of ‘Tree Shadow at the Gridline,’ I was shooting walls in the city and shadows on the wall. This presented the contrast between straight lines, horizontal lines, highly artificial patterns and tree shadows that frequently appeared in the city.


No matter whether it is traditional photography work or works from daily life wisdoms, I am always the first audience. It is a gratification when I see them and feel satisfied.


Why did you say ‘creation is needed in daily life?’

I liked to watch movies when I was young and I was a team member of the school I.T. team. I had a lot of chances to get in touch with different shooting equipment, hence I started shooting. I realised that movies had to tell stories through camera and I felt more and more interested. Then, I went to study photography and went to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to study photography courses every weekend.

After three weeks of studying at the Sixth Grade, I thought I was wasting my time. I stopped it and went to study an art course. That was the start of art existing in my life. Then I realised that movie shooting required a big team for production, which I thought didn’t really suit me. I realised photography fitted more and ever since, I’ve been addicted to it.


What difficulties are there for creation? 

Actually I think the process of creation wastes a lot of materials. Sometimes no one knows how to handle materials derived from creations. I have been thinking about this issue recently – I wish I could do something to make the world better through photography.

Cheung Wai Lok - Hole

Cheung Wai Lok – Hole


Any artists you appreciate the most? 

Luke Ching. He is a godly figure, who can use humorous ways to express heavy topics.




Contributed by 

Alter Modernist

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